The gig economy has been growing in the last few years. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed the game. The economy was crippled by the closure of businesses in retail, restaurants, leisure, and tourism. Twenty-two million Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic. Quarantine restrictions caused these job losses. This prompted many professionals to turn to gig work and offer their services online.
Lots of independent contractors and freelancers are working from home right now. It can be challenging especially if you’re not used to working on your couch or bed. There are distractions all day long such as the TV and your kids. You need to improve your skills in planning, interpersonal skills, and independent working.
Gig Economy in the U.S.
Thirty-six percent of American professionals do some gig work. Studies show that two-thirds of prominent corporations offer contract and freelance jobs. Many of them do this to cut labor costs. Some professionals do this gig in their spare time. Some juggle with gig work and their full-time jobs. And there are some who dedicated all of their business hours to gig work.
Independent workers in the U.S. grew by 15% since 2010. The development of technology and the accessibility to the internet caused this growth. It allowed workers to offer their time and labor to companies that are miles away. Services accessed through websites and mobile apps such as Uber and Airbnb also contributed to the growth of the gig economy.
Here are the best practices that will help you adjust to your new life as an independent contractor or freelancer. After all, we all want to earn good money. We want to be productive and feel accomplished. And we want to remain safe at home, away from the threats of the coronavirus.
Working independently means you have to stay on top of things all the time. There’s no administrative staff that will maintain your calendars. No one else will take note of your deadlines and scheduled meetings. No one else will also take care of organizing your files and records. These may seem such dull admin work. But these are things you have to keep in mind.
A way for you to improve your organizational skills is by turning to bullet journaling. It is a way for you to track all of your tasks, and take note of important dates. What’s also interesting in this method of planning is that it also encourages you to have a proper work-life balance. You are encouraged to set aside pages for random thoughts, things that you’re grateful for, etc.
Acquiring Help from Others
Being a contractor or freelancer is almost synonymous with being an independent worker. But that doesn’t mean you have to take on everything alone. Dealing with taxes and other legal matters on your own can be very overwhelming.
If you’re a creative at heart and aren’t strong with numbers, you can turn to businesses that offer accounting for independent contractors and freelancers. If you aren’t privy to the legal jargon in your contracts, you can turn to legal experts. They’ll check out the contracts first to see you’re getting fair pay before you sign anything.
Establishing a Strong Online Presence
Since you’d be always looking for work, then you need to have a platform where your professional experience and expertise are on full display. It must always be accessible to potential companies looking to commission workers like you.
If you have the skills, then build a website that shows your portfolio. You can use trusted websites such as WordPress to create your online page if web development is not your strong suit. If need be, you must also develop your professional social media pages. They could be another avenue for you to connect with hiring businesses.
Working on your own requires being more socially open to fellow professionals. You’re building a network. So always be responsive to emails and other communication platforms. Take initiative and don’t be afraid to reach out to possible employers. Always express eagerness to learn and to contribute to their company even if it’s for a short time.
With that, you must also build strong relationships. After offering your services to one company, make sure to maintain a connection with them. Keep in touch with them. So that the next time they need help from independent workers, they’ll turn back to you.
Becoming an independent contractor or freelancer is no easy feat. It’s especially harder if you’re remote working. It may feel difficult to stay productive, organized, motivated, and connected to people. But even if you’re working from home, there are ways to take advantage of the system of independent working. You just need to master them.